The Cincinnati Reds and Louisville Bats came to an agreement yesterday that will insure the two entities remained joined for the foreseeable future. The Bats officially accepted the Reds invitation to be the team’s Triple-A affiliate.
The Reds and Bats have been paired together since 2000. After being affiliated with the St. Louis Cardinals (1982-1997) and the Milwaukee Brewers (1998-1999), Louisville entered into a partnership that has seen some of the best talent within the Cincinnati organization pass through the Derby City en route to the big leagues.
The Reds and Bats entered into a 10-year agreement.
Earlier this winter, the Cincinnati Reds extended an offer to the Louisville Bats to become the team’s Triple-A affiliate once again. This time, however, the agreement is quite different as Major League Baseball has completely overhauled the minor league system.
Entering the 2021 season, minor league baseball will have just four classifications; Triple-A, Double-A, Advanced-A, and Class-A. For the Reds, the only change will be a change in designation. The Dayton Dragons have been elevated to Advanced-A and the Daytona Tortugas will now operate as the team’s Class-A affiliate.
The Louisville Bats will be part of the Triple-A East and play in the Midwest Division. Among the other teams in the division are the Columbus Clippers, Indianapolis Indians, Iowa Cubs, St. Paul Saints, Omaha Storm Chasers, and the Toledo Mud Hens.
Among the seven teams in the division, four are affiliated with the NL Central. Only the St. Louis Cardinals’ Triple-A affiliate, the Memphis Redbirds, play outside the Midwest Division. Joining the NL Central affiliates are the Minnesota Twins (Saints). Detroit Tigers (Mud Hens), and Royals (Storm Chasers).
Which Reds players are headed to Louisville?
There’s a handful of players, currently on the Cincinnati Reds roster, who are likely ticketed to begin the 2021 season with the Louisville Bats. Among them are Jonathan India, Nick Lodolo, José García, and Ryan Hendrix.
The convenience of having the team’s Triple-A affiliate 90 minutes down I-71 is of great benefit and will be in effect until 2030. The Louisville Bats will play baseball in 2021 after losing an entire season to the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. The Bats are hopeful to have fans back in the stands at Louisville Slugger Field sometime this year as well.